The Wildfire of Betrayal
Betrayal spreads like a wildfire. It starts with one incident with one person, and then it grows out of control. It consumes you to the point that it begins to affect others who were not even involved in the original incident. We tend to tell our stories to anyone who will listen and want everyone to know who betrayed us and how. If the betrayal isn’t forgiven and dealt with properly and biblically (Matthew 18), it will impact those who are in your life now, but can also become a generational problem.
A woman finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her. She begins to deal with this betrayal. All of a sudden, all men are evil. No man can be trusted. This harms every future relationship. She can no longer trust and therefore can’t fully love, all because she couldn’t forgive the betrayal. See how they all work together? So, let’s take that a step further. Say she has a daughter. Now, she is teaching by example that men cannot be trusted, that they will betray her. Her daughter now views all men as a threat and her relationships are impacted by this generational belief.
Church hurt is another great example. One man is betrayed in his church. He then refuses to attend church. Not just the church he experienced this in, but all churches. It gets to the point that he no longer believes in God even. He gets married, has a family and they do not go to church or talk about God at all. His kids grow up never knowing the love of God because their father was betrayed by one person 50 years ago. His refusal to forgive that betrayal prevented his children from having a relationship with God. This isn’t just a generational impact, but an eternal one.
Some prejudices can be traced back to a betrayal. Of course, some people just hold prejudices and false beliefs for reasons I won’t begin to tackle here, but some initiated with one betrayal. A sexist male might have had a betrayal by a female. A person who hates all police may have experienced a betrayal by one officer. A racist may have been betrayed by someone of a different race. A person who doesn’t trust authority figures may have been betrayed by someone of authority. Betrayal can go from a bad experience with one individual to a generational false belief about everyone with that “label”, for lack of a better word. We teach our children what we believe to be true. That is how betrayal and false beliefs can impact future generations.
Think about the current and the future impact that withholding forgiveness can have. Decide today if you want that betrayal you experienced to become generational. I challenge you to ask God to check your heart for undiagnosed betrayal. You might already be aware of the betrayals that you need healing from. Either way, I pray that you would find the strength and wisdom needed to forgive. I pray for restoration of your relationship with God, because ultimately that is what is at stake.